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Chathurmasya Vratham and Vyasa Pooja
And their significance

What is Chathurmasya Vratham?

On the day of Shukla Paksha Ekadasi of Ashada Month, Lord Maha Vishnu goes into Yoga Nidhra with Adhi Sesha as bed in Thiruparkadal. He wakes up on the Shukla Paksha Ekadasi day of Karthik Month. Thus He stays in Yoga Nidhra for four months! The Sanyasins adopt Vratham on these four months and this is called Chathurmasya Vratham. It is expected that all persons, Brahmacharis, Gruhasthas, Vanaprasthas and Sanyasins should adopt this Vratham during this period. However, Sanyasins who are considered as swaroopa of Sriman Narayanan adopt this Vratham and (since Sriman Narayanan is in Yoga Nidhra) during this period they do not undertake any travel and stay in one place.

One Paksha (a fortnight) is considered as one month in Vedas and hence this Vratham is adopted as four Paksha or four fortnights and Sanyasins now a days follow the practice of adopting the Vratham for two months.

Vyasa Pooja on Gurupoornima

This Pooja is performed by Sanyasis on the Pournami day of the Ashada month. In this Pooja the following Devathas, Maharishis, Gurus and Parma Gurus and Parama Gurus are invoked and offered the prayers.

  1. Sri Krishna Panchakam
    Sri Krishna, Sri Vasudeva, Sri Sankarshana, Sri Pradhymna and Sri Aniruddha
  2. Vyasa Panchakam
    Sri Vyasa, Sri Pylar, Sri Vaisampayana, Sri Jaimini and Sri Sumanthu
  3. Acharya Panchakam
    Sri Sankara Bagavadh Pada, Sri Padmapatha, Sri Suresvara, Sri Hasthamalaka and Sri Thotakachariya. (The last four are the primary sishyas of Sri Sankara Bagavadh Pada)
  4. Sri Sanaka Panchakam
    Sri Sanaka, Sri Sananthana, Sri Sanathana, Sri Sanath Kumara and Sri Sanath Sujatha
  5. Sri Sukha and Sri Naratha
     
  6. Dravidacharya Panchakam
    Sri Dravidacharya, Sri Goudapadha, Sri Govinda Bagavadh Padha, Sri Samkshepadhacharya and Sri Vivarnacharya (Sri Goudapadha and Sri Govinda Bagavadh Padha are the Paramaguru and Guru of Sri Adhi Sankara respectively and the other three are famous exponents of Advaita Vedanta and do not form part of the Guru Parampara per se).
  7. Guru Panchakam
    Sri Guru, Sri Paramaguru, Sri Parameshtiguru, Sri Parapara Guru and other Brahma Vidhya gurus.
  8. Devathas
    Sri Ganapathy, Sri Durga, Sri Kshetrapalaka, Sri Saraswathi, Sri Indra and other Thik Palakas, Sri Brahma, Sri Adhi Seshan and Sri Suddha Chaithanya.

Sankalpa

At the start of the Sankalpa the Sanyasins call their sishyas and the Gruhasthas and intimate their decision thus: During these months the insects and worms come out on the paths and if we travel (with our entourage) it will be a great disturbance to these creatures. Hence we propose to stay here itself during this period. In case it is found inconvenient to you people we find some other place!

The sishyas and others will reply three times thus: Kindly stay here itself. We pray that we may be blessed to serve you and allow us to make all necessary arrangements.

Above is the Sankalpa of Chathurmasya Vratham. During the first month they avoid in their food vegetables and fruits, during the second month milk, during the third month buttermilk and during the fourth month cereals. (Instead of month it may be taken as fortnight)

Importance of Gurupoornima

Sri Veda Vyasa did yeomen service for the growth of Sanathana Dharma. He gave the world the Vedas codifying it into Rg, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Vedas. Apart from all these, the great sage also compiled 18 Puranas wherein the essence of Vedas has been explained in details with examples. He is also the author of Brahma Sutras, which again is the abridged version of Vedas. Sri Adhi Sankara Bagavadh Pada has written the bashyam for the same.

The purpose of celebration of Guru Poornima is to pay homage to the great sage who has bestowed the Vedas and Brahma Sutra for the future generations. During the pooja on Guru Poornima the Veda Vyasa and the guru parampara are paid obeisance. The present Gurus, the great Guru Parampara and the Devathas are offered prayers and the sishyas participate in the pooja, have their darshan and by offering their dakshina and Namaskaram get immense benefits.